In both Australia and New Zealand medical education and training is overseen by independent bodies that govern professional standards. Surgeons who are aligned with these professional organisations are bound by a code of conduct and ethics to help ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.

There are, however, so many organisations with similar acronyms that it can be tough to sort them all out. That’s what we’d like to try to do now.

    • AAFPS Australasian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery– The Australian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery was formed in 1990. It is the only specialist group in Australasia focusing solely on facial plastic surgery and is a founding member of the International Federation of Facial Plastic Surgery Societies (IFFPSS). AAFPS members are fully registered specialists and board certified in their specialties.

Members perform aesthetic and reconstructive procedures of the face, head and neck including head and neck surgeons, otolaryngologists, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, general plastic surgeons, oral and faciomaxillary surgeons.

The Academy and its members are committed to continual education, research and leadership in pursuit of excellence in the field of facial plastic surgery. The organisation hosts symposiums, master classes and other events designed to keep AAFPS surgeons on the cutting edge of their profession.

    • ACCS The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery – The ACCS dedicates itself to raising standards and protecting patients. Its primary goal is to ensure the safe provision of cosmetic medicine and cosmetic surgical procedures to the Australian community through the supply of appropriately trained and certified health care practitioners.

Members of this not-for-profit, multi-disciplinary fellowship-based body are cosmetic surgeons, plastic surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, dermatologists, ear nose and throat surgeons, ophthalmologists and other doctors and health care practitioners who practice in cosmetic medicine and surgery for men and women.

The College’s Code of Practice prescribes and prohibits a range of communications meant to improve patient communication and informed consent before treatment.  It also provides additional pathways for patient redress should they have concerns or feel that they have been harmed due to poor communication.

Relevant training and experience are prerequisites for admission to the ACCS. The organisation provides its members with the most current relevant information, and it is a condition of membership that its doctors keep abreast of the latest medical and scientific advances.

The ACCS also liaises with health, government and ethics authorities to ensure that regulations and guidelines keep pace with new technology and procedures. 

AMZAOMS 200-plus members are oral and maxillofacial surgeons, specialists who treat conditions, defects, injuries and aesthetic aspects of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face.

    • ASAPS Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery – As the authoritative source since 1977, the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) has been one of the world’s leading organisations in cosmetic surgery education and research. ASAPS members are all Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) specialising in cosmetic surgery of the face, breast and body.

The Sydney-based ASAPS promotes an interchange of knowledge for the advancement of Aesthetic Plastic surgery among suitably qualified surgeons. It sponsors conferences and symposia to ensure that ASAPS members remain at the leading edge of their profession. It should not to be confused with the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

    • ASCM Australian Society of Cosmetic Medicine – The ASCM promotes the advancement of cosmetic medicine by providing a forum for expression of professional opinion on cosmetic medicine activities.

The overall objective of the society’s training program is to produce medical practitioners who are safe, skilled and competent in the management of all aspects of non-surgical aesthetic medicine.

      • ASDC – Australian Society of Dermal Clinicians – The ASDC is an exclusive organisation representing dermal Clinicians and its associated members, both nationally and internationally. The ASDC seeks to provide the community and allied health professionals with non-surgical cosmetic procedures, pre- and post- operative therapy, and the clinical management of dermal and scar conditions.

Dermal clinicians who are members of the ASDC are graduates of Victoria University. They have completed the Bachelor of Health Science degree in dermal therapies and are specifically trained and qualified to the highest level to operate and assist in therapeutic and cosmetic applications and skin treatments as well as clinical management.

ASDC members may work independently or hand-in-hand with Dermatologists, Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeons, Phlebologists and Vascular Surgeons, Endocrinologists, General Practitioners, Physicians, Podiatrists and Nurses.

      • ASPS – Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons – The main goal of the ASPS is to protect the integrity of plastic surgery as a specialty and provide the highest quality plastic surgery care to all Australians.

ASPA members are specialist plastic surgeons (both reconstructive and cosmetic), accredited by the Commonwealth Government. They have extensive education and training, including a minimum of 12 years medical and surgical education with at least 5 years of specialist post-graduate training.

The national Medical Board states that the title of “Specialist Plastic Surgeon” can only be used by FRACS-approved specialist surgeons in the recognised Specialty of Plastic Surgery (FRACS stands for Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.) ASPS surgeons are all Fellows who have trained and qualified to perform invasive cosmetic and reconstructive surgery in public and private hospitals, and in day surgeries.

      • CPSA Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia – The CPSA represents the largest body of doctors in Australia who perform non- and minimally invasive cosmetic medical treatments. Incorporated in 1997, the Society aims to ensure patient safety and to improve regulations in cosmetic medicine.

In order to be admitted to the CPSA, cosmetic professionals must meet relevant training and experience prerequisites, and it is a condition of membership that doctors keep abreast of the latest medical and scientific advances.

      • RACSRoyal Australasian College of Surgeons  – The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) was formed in 1927. It is a non-profit organisation dedicated to training surgeons and maintaining surgical standards across all medical specialties. The College’s purpose is to be the unifying force for surgery in Australia and New Zealand, with Fellowship standing in RACS (FRACS) representing excellence in surgical care.

RACS surgeons are doctors who have completed extra training in the surgical specialty of their choice: Cardiothoracic Surgery, General Surgery, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, Head and Neck Surgery (Otolaryngology), Paediatric Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Urology, or Vascular Surgery.

Once a doctor has completed specialty training, including exams and several clinical placements, he or she will sit for the Fellowship exam. FRACS surgeons are highly qualified and up-to-date with the latest developments in their area of skill, enabling them to give the best possible care to their patients.

Knowing where your doctor or surgeon was trained, was accredited, and is currently affiliated is a vital component of your selection process. Yet with more and more people using fewer and fewer words and letters in text messages, tweets, blog posts, and even news reports, there’s a lot of confusion about who’s who in Australia’s medical associations and organisations.

When choosing a surgeon or cosmetic practitioner, make sure you’ve got the facts to support a good decision.

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